We all know that goal setting is important, but not all of us know how to reasonably do that. The problem is that our goals are what drive the plans we put in place. So, without clearly defined objectives, how will you know whether you reached your target?
For a solo-preneur, entrepreneur or other small business, goal-setting may be as simple as figuring out how many customers you need to have in order to be successful in 2012.
It’s a fairly simple equation to give you a ballpark estimate, but one we often forget to figure out. So, take a piece of paper or open up Excel, and jot down how much you personally need to earn in a year, plus what your operating expenses are, and divide that by how much your average customer typically spends. Remember, this is only an estimate, but if you don’t know the answer already, it’s a great way to start. So spend some time on this…
Can you decrease your expenses in any way? Is the salary you want really what you need? Is there a simple upsell you can offer to increase your average customer spend?
If you’re just starting out and don’t have actual numbers to base this on, estimate what you believe they will be, and come back and recalculate when you have real numbers to work with. Once you’re satisfied with the numbers, make your calculation as to how many customers you need to reach your goals.
(Salary + expenses) / Avg. customer spend = # customers
Throughout the course of the year, you’ll want to periodically re-check this information to make sure all the factors are still accurate, and compare where you’re at with where you want to be.
Some of the things that will help you achieve these goals are frequently ignored. For instance, do you have a marketing plan? Taking the time to create one will help you to focus your message, making it easier to create pre-qualified leads that are interested in hearing from you.
Whether you’re a big company or a small one, you need to develop an integrated and comprehensive strategic marketing plan that includes:
- Marketplace positioning
- Primary brand/product/service messaging
- Target markets
- Target buyers and influencers
- Strengths and challenges
- Marketing and media relations editorial calendar
- Marketing deliverables and activities
- Timeline of activities
- Activities measurement
With your marketing plan firmly in hand, you can begin taking clearly focused steps to reach your goals.
As you develop the materials and resources that convey your message, be thinking of what your customer wants to hear.
If you’re selling a service, don’t focus on how neat your process is. Focus on what results you have gotten. Prospective customers are typically more interested in what you can do for them than in how you’re going to do it.
The same thing goes if you’re selling a product. Let your prospective customer know, in simple language, what’s new and different about your product compared to the other options they have. Will it make their life easier? Shine their shoes brighter? Last longer? Whatever value proposition you offer, make sure you can back it up!
As you focus on knowing your goals, developing and implementing your marketing plan, and staying focused on your message, you’ll be creating an environment of success for yourself and your business! Look out 2012… Here we come!
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